Yelp’s review policies differ slightly from other review sites, and this tripped up more than a few businesses. Though their policies are stricter, it is still possible to get more Yelp reviews. Here is what you need to know about Yelp’s review policy, and how you can still get more Yelp reviews.
Yelp Review Policy: What You Need to Know
The rules for making a business account, posting reviews, responding to reviews, and other important rules for the platform are listed in the Content Guidelines, as well as Yelp’s Guide to Success and their blog. Many of these policies are similar to other websites that host reviews, like Google, Facebook, or TripAdvisor. Others are a bit more strict.
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Only Honest Reviews by Real Customers
Yelp, like every review site, emphasizes the importance of genuine reviews made by real customers. Fake and paid reviews are strictly prohibited. Yelp uses an algorithm to detect suspicious reviews, and looks into reviews that customers flag. They also have a team to look into serious cases. Since the functionality and usability of Yelp is dependent on reviews being trustworthy and reliable, it makes sense that they take this policy very seriously.
Watch Out for Yelp Consumer Alerts
While most review sites claim to delete false or paid reviews—but seldom do—Yelp goes one step further. If they suspect a business is buying reviews or using other unethical practices, they will flag the business and issue a warning to any consumer looking at the business. In May of 2019, Yelp reported posting these alerts on 228 business pages after catching these businesses paying for reviews, incentivizing customers to leave reviews, or otherwise cheating the system. If the business stops this practice, the alert will be removed after 90 days.
No Incentivizing Reviews
You may have noticed businesses offering gift cards, discounts, or other incentives in exchange for reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or other sites. Most review sites now expressly forbid this practice in their terms of service agreements or policies, including Yelp. Offering gift cards, discounts, or other rewards to get more Yelp reviews is likely to get your reviews removed and might even get a consumer alert warning on your listing.
No Asking for Reviews
Most review sites don’t say anything about asking customers for reviews. After all, if you don’t ask, how would a customer know where to post a review? However, Yelp’s review policies are stricter than most when it comes to soliciting reviews. Unlike other sites, Yelp forbids any kind of review solicitation. They lay out several banned practices, like asking mailing lists for reviews or asking employees to collect reviews. At the top of this page, they state quite plainly; “Don’t Ask for Reviews.”
How to Get More Yelp Reviews
With Yelp’s strict review policies, it’s understandably challenging to get more Yelp reviews. However, there are ways to stay within these guidelines while encouraging customers to leave reviews. Here are a few ways to get more Yelp reviews without breaking the rules.
Invite, Don’t Ask
While you can’t directly ask customers to leave a review, there’s no policy against stating that you have a Yelp account. You might use an invitation like “check us out on Yelp” or “Visit us on Yelp.” on your menu, a whiteboard, or a sticker on your front door or window. If this seems a bit like splitting hairs, keep in mind that Yelp actually encourages users to “display approved Yelp branding” on their Guide to Success Page.
Provide a Link in Emails
To get more Yelp reviews, make it as easy as possible to find your listing. In your promotional emails, include an invitation similar to the one above. Include a link to your Yelp business listing, so your fans can easily leave a review if they want to.
Add Reviews to Your Website
Showcase your Yelp profile on your website and invite customers to visit. By showcasing your Yelp profile in multiple places, you increase your chances that a Yelp user will see your invitation and leave a review. You can also embed preferred reviews onto your site. Some review sites might see this as intellectual property misuse (remember that you don’t own the review), but Yelp expressly allows this.
Optimize Your Yelp Page
If you really want to get more Yelp reviews, be sure that you’re using all of the site’s available features. Claim your listing, add all relevant information, post photos, and respond to the reviews that you get. This will show Yelp users that you’re active and paying attention.
Provide a Great Experience
Of course, the best way to get a positive review on any site, including Yelp, is to provide an exceptional experience. Give your employees the power to solve problems when they arise. Remember that a great customer service experience starts with the people who interact with your customers everyday. To make happy customers a priority, start with a happy workplace. Happy employees will generally be glad to brighten someone else’s day, while unhappy employees might be tempted to take their frustration out on customers.
Remember that there are many different places a customer might leave a review. Ultimately, the choice is up to them. You have limited time and energy to spend getting more reviews, so look at the stats and make sure that Yelp is a worthwhile pursuit for you. Restaurants and hospitality services get a lot of Yelp reviews, while other businesses might not.
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